Thursday, December 16, 2010

180 Degrees South, Conquerors of the Useless


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Have you ever wanted to climb Mount Everest or Kilimanjaro? Not my thing, but for naturalist, Chris Johnson, it was his calling. His travels are chronicled in the movie 180 Degrees South, Conquerors of the Useless, directed by Chris Malloy. This movie chronicles the adventure of Chris Johnson, a young man set out to follow in the footsteps of his heroes: Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins.  You see, Yvon and Doug,who call themselves dirt bags,  took a bus from CA to Patagonia to summit Corcavado in the late 60's. They both fell in love with the area and would later start the companies of Patagonia and North Face. Chris, in 2008, decided to start his travels by boat instead of van and will meet up with Yvon and Doug in Patagonia. As Chris's journey unfolds so does the previous story of Yvon and Doug, all told though the most majestic cinematography and a beautiful soundtrack too! This film also highlights the horrible situation of dams being built on nearly every one of Chile's rivers to produce electricity for far way places. It educates about pulp mills ruining the shores and water ways of fishermen who make their living from the sea.

I am by no means a thrill seeker. I honestly can't relate to people who summit great mountain peaks, but I love to watch films about them. The overwhelming beauty of this film will bring you to tears. And there's something to be said for simple living and being one with nature. There are incredible messages to be learned by this film: conservation, preservation, and just plain ole, living life to the fullest. I rented this though Netflix and watched it instantly. You won't be sorry. Great website too: http://www.180south.com/

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